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Eskimo Boy Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Eskimo Boy provides an authentic picture of Eskimo life, a culture in many ways different from our own. Freuchen's novel reveals much about the routine of everyday Eskimo life—the meals, clothes, and amusements—as well as the continual struggle for survival in a harsh, unforgiving climate. The author speaks with authority on these matters, having spent much of her childhood in Greenland.

The novel is both a tale of adventure, filled with action and suspense, and a sensitive story of a boy forced to grow up in all too short a time. Freuchen's account of hunting and being hunted on the Greenland ice is exciting in itself. She describes the Eskimo ways of hunting seal, walrus, fox, and polar bear. The difficulty Ivik, the main character, faces in providing for his grandfather, mother, and younger brother and sisters makes for interesting reading. Eskimo Boy also offers a fascinating glimpse at traditional Eskimo culture, which is now disappearing because of technological advances and the pressures of the outside world. This short novel tells a story of Eskimo life virtually untouched by western culture. There are no snowmobiles, no guns, no radios, no processed foods. Ivik and his family have only what they can make from their environment; they eat only what their skills as hunters and gatherers provide for them.